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Teriyaki Burger

We call Teriyaki Burgers, “Teri Burgers” in Hawaii! You can find them on the menu at many local restaurants. They are also fun and easy to make at home! We mix homemade teriyaki sauce into a beef and onion mixture, then brush the patty with more sauce while cooking the burgers. Pair with cheese, onions, tomatoes, and a toasty bun for a super onolicious meal ^_^

Teriyaki burger on a plate.
Teriyaki Burger, ready to eat ^_^

Why This Recipe Works

First things first! So what exactly is a teriyaki burger?
A teriyaki burger is like a regular burger, but it has teriyaki sauce mixed directly into the hamburger patty. Many place and people (us included) also like to brush the teriyaki sauce onto the patty while cooking the burger. So you get double dose of teriyaki.

What is teriyaki sauce?
Teriyaki sauce is made of soy sauce and sugar. And sometimes also ginger and garlic.

Why is it called teri burger in Hawaii?
We definitely prefer teri burgers over regular burgers in Hawaii. Locals call it “teri burgers.” Visitors call it “teriyaki burgers.” Both are technically correct but we will know you are a visitor if you say teriyaki burger heheh ^_^

Some people even call it a Hawaiian burger which is nuts, because this is 100% not Hawaiian food (here’s the difference).

So easy to make.
However we call it, we hope you enjoy it! And we hope you make this recipe at home because it is super easy. You just mix ground beef with onion. Then make a simple teriyaki sauce (soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and ginger). Mix that sauce into the beef mixture. Then panfry or grill the patties!

The secret: 2x teriyaki.
The secret is to also brush the patties with extra teriyaki sauce to make it really really teriyaki flavor. Then add cheese if you’d like. Let the cheese get warm and melty. Then slide onto toasted burger buns and add any extras like tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. So simple and very delicious.

Teriyaki burger from Papa Kurt's on a plate.
Teriyaki Burger from Papa Kurt’s (Oahu).

Teriyaki Burger in Hawaii

Oh man I can’t even begin to tell you just how much we love teriyaki burgers in Hawaii. We eat them all the time! Whether it’s at a restaurant or a school carnival/fair, or your cousin’s beach bbq on a weekend, teryaki burgers happily make frequent appearances in our food lives ^_^

Here are a few neat places where teryaki burgers can be found:

W&M Burger (also called W&M Bar-B-Q Burger)
An old school classic in the very tasty neighborhood of Kaimuki. It’s a local family business and they’ve been around for 80 years! I order the “Royal” which has everything and a side of fries and a soda…ahh hits the spot good! Here’s a whole guide to eating in the Kaimuki neighborhood.

Papa Kurt’s
They make one real juicy, saucy, and super flavorful teri burger at Papa Kurt’s! It’s that photo pictured above, and comes with two pickles. A pretty perfect burger. A must with a side of crinkle cut fries. Don’t forget to also order the saimin when you are here.

Teriyaki Burger from Punahou Carnival.
Teriyaki Burger from Punahou Carnival.

Punahou Carnival
You know about the Punahou Carnival? It takes place the first February weekend of each year. There are rides and games, but everyone really goes to this carnival for food. From one of my favorite malasadas to saimin, Hawaiian plate lunch, and simple yet super satisfying teri burgers, this is an event we look forward to all year. Here’s a post about all the good things to eat at the annual Punahou Carnival.

Costco Hawaii
Yes! For real. But you have to cook them yourself. Costco Hawaii carries May’s Teriyaki Patties. May’s is a local brand. You can find them a lot of supermarkets in Hawaii (even Longs Drugs), but we get them at Costco because better deal in bulk as you know ^_^ Here’s a whole post about Costco Hawaii.

Ingredients

These are the ingredients you’ll need to make a teriyaki burger at home:

  • Ground beef
  • Onion
  • Sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • Water
  • Garlic, smashed
  • Ginger, smashed
  • Burger buns, toasted
  • Optional: American cheese, sliced tomatoes, and onions

Step by Step Directions

Let’s get cooking ^_^

Make the beef patty mixture.
Mix together the ground beef and diced onions in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Make the teriyaki sauce.
In a small pot, combine the sugar, soy sauce, water, garlic, and ginger. Warm over medium-low heat for 5 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved and the ginger and garlic has flavored the sauce. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the ginger and garlic.

Turn the beef patties into teriyaki beef patties.
Mix half of the teriyaki sauce mixture into the ground beef mixture.  Form into four patties.

Cook the burgers.
Pan fry or grill each patty for a few minutes on each side until nice and browned. Brush each side of the patty with the remaining teriyaki sauce while cooking. 

Protip: It is extra important to brush the patties with teriyaki sauce while cooking! This gives it extra flavor and makes the burgers so juicy.

Add cheese (optional but delicious!)
Place a slice of cheese on the patty and let warm/melt for 30 seconds.

Assemble, eat, and enjoy ^_^
Slide the patties onto toasted buns. Add onions, tomatoes, and lettuce (optional). Eat hot and enjoy!

Teriyaki burgers on a plate.
Teriyaki Burgers, ready to eat ^_^

FAQs and Tips

Variations?

Add avocado slices or a fried egg if you’re feeling decadent.

I’ve also heard of adding pineapple to make pineapple teriyaki burger… That might be a thing, but it has nothing to do with Hawaii. Locals do not add pineapples to their burgers.

If we have extra time, we like to chop the onions and saute them with teriyaki sauce. That way we get a triple dose of teriyaki (teriyaki sauce in the patty mixture, brushed on top of the patties, and cooked with the onions!)

How long does the burger keep?

Like any burger, you’ll want to eat this as soon as possible! You can prepare all the parts up to a day in advance, but once you assemble, you’ll want to eat this right away.

Extra teriyaki sauce?

If you happen to make extra teriyaki sauce, lucky you! Put it in a jar, and keep it in the fridge. There are many other dishes you can make using that sauce. We’ve been on a Beef Teriyaki Sticks roll lately. And here’s our classic Homemade Teriyaki Sauce recipe.

Teriyaki Burger Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

Teriyaki burger on a plate.

Teriyaki Burger

Yield: 4 teriyaki burgers
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

We call Teriyaki Burgers, "Teri Burgers" in Hawaii! You can find them on the menu at many local restaurants, and they are also fun and easy to make at home! We mix homemade teriyaki sauce into the beef patty mixture, and then brush the patty with more sauce while cooking the burgers. Pair with cheese, onions, tomatoes, and a nice toasty bun for a super onolicious meal ^_^

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ of a medium onion, diced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, smashed
  • 4 burger buns, toasted
  • Optional: American cheese, sliced tomatoes, and onions

Instructions

  1. Mix together the ground beef and diced onions in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Make the teriyaki sauce next. In a small pot, combine the sugar, soy sauce, water, garlic, and ginger. Warm over medium-low heat for 5 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved and the ginger and garlic has flavored the sauce. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the ginger and garlic.
  3. Mix half of the teriyaki sauce mixture into the ground beef mixture.  Form into four patties.
  4. Pan fry or grill each patty for a few minutes on each side until nice and browned. Brush each side of the patty with the remaining teriyaki sauce while cooking. 
  5. Place a slice of cheese on the patty and let warm/melt for 30 seconds.
  6. Slide the patties onto toasted buns. Add onions, tomatoes, and lettuce (optional). Eat hot and enjoy!

Alan

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

Ha, ha, ha -- WM has been around for ages!! I remember ordering Teriburgers there like maybe 40-50 years ago.

Kathy

Sunday 5th of September 2021

Hi Alan! It's still as delicious as ever!! :) - Kathy

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